AUO and Innolux October sales mixed, but upbeat outlook remains


TAIPEI–Taiwan’s TV panel makers AU Optronics Corp. (AUO) and Innolux Corp. both reported mixed sales data for October, but market analysts said Saturday that they remained upbeat about the companies’ fourth quarter earnings outlook due to solid demand for the screens.

Analysts said that as international TV brands continued to expand production for a higher market share, TV screen prices quoted for November kept trending higher, while sales of other electronics gadgets are expected to benefit from the year-end buying spree, which will boost panel shipments further.

TV panels accounted for more than 40 percent of AUO’s and Innolux’s total sales, serving as a driver of the two companies’ sales growth.

In a statement released Friday, AUO reported about NT$37 billion (US$1.21 billion) in consolidated sales for October, up 3.9 percent from a month earlier, and also up 9.1 percent from a year earlier. Rival Innolux’s October consolidated sales fell 0.5 percent from a month to NT$38.3 billion, but the figure grew 18.2 percent from a year ago.

AUO shipped more than 10.34 million large-sized panels for TV, notebook computer and desktop computer use in October, up 5.0 percent from September, while the company shipped 16.3 million small and medium-sized screens, up 8.3 percent from a month earlier.

As for Innolux, its shipments of large-sized panels for October fell 4.5 percent from September to 12.10 million units, while small and medium sized screen shipments rose 1.1 percent month-on-month to 25.94 million units.

The mixed sales data did not turn investors away from AUO and Innolux shares on the Taiwan Stock Exchange Friday. AUO shares rose 4.56 percent to end at NT$14.90, and Innolux shares gained 3.57 percent to close at NT$14.50.

The weighting of Innolux shares in the MSCI indexes was even raised by MSCI Inc. by 0.013 percentage points Thursday after the global index provider’s semi-annual index adjustments.

Despite the slight month-on-month fall in October sales, Innolux said that global flat panel market conditions have been healthy, and a supply shortage is expected to continue into the end of this year. The company said that demand for tablet computers is expected to remain solid in the fourth quarter, while demand for notebook computers could weaken.

In a research note, market information advisory firm DisplaySearch said that prices of 32, 40 and 42-inch TV panels quoted for November rose US$1 on average from a month earlier to a new high.

Analysts said that rising demand for TV panels could help AUO and Innolux remain profitable in the fourth quarter.

In the third quarter, AUO’s earnings per share (EPS) stood at NT$0.76, up from NT$0.42 recorded a quarter earlier. Its latest quarterly EPS surpassed an earlier market estimate of NT$0.5 to NT$0.6.

Innolux’s EPS for the third quarter rose to NT$0.77 and more than doubled from NT$0.33 recorded a quarter earlier.